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Louisiana cancer study to provide in-state clinical trials

“So I know I'm taking the actual drug, and we hope over time and study that this will protect my heart,” said McKinnon-Hicks.

NEW ORLEANS — Each year in Louisiana more than 25,000 people hear the words, ‘You have cancer.’

Many will wonder how they can afford to get treatment away from home.

Now you can look for the latest treatment, through local clinical trials, all in one place.

For nearly two years Liliclaire McKinnon-Hicks has been fighting breast cancer.

“I was diagnosed with HER2-positive cancer. And at that point a few months, shortly thereafter, we found out I'm a stage 4. It's in my liver. It was in my spine, and it was in my lymph nodes,” said Liliclaire McKinnon-Hicks.

Brent Ramirez is also fighting advanced cancer. His started as prostate cancer. Both he and Liliclaire turned to clinical trials in Southeast Louisiana for the latest investigational treatments.

“I would've had to travel to Houston or some other cancer center, Mecca. It's staying away from your home, for a day, sometimes maybe weeks,” said Brent Ramirez.

“So I know I'm taking the actual drug, and we hope over time and study that this will protect my heart,” said McKinnon-Hicks.

The Louisiana Cancer Research Center brings together some of the largest research institutions in the state, LSU Health, Tulane, Ochsner and Xavier. More than 200 scientists are working on discoveries to further the fight against cancer. Even during the pandemic last year, 2,300 cancer patients enrolled in clinical trials.

“It's done wonders for me. I'm hoping that the results that I've gotten to this point have been positive,” said Ramirez.

October 28, the center will release a video, narrated by former WWL-TV news anchor Angela Hill. It's to help you learn how to access the latest investigational cancer medications across Louisiana. It doesn't matter if you have medical insurance or not. It's how Brent found Tulane's Dr. Oliver Sartor.

“Clinical trials are what we do in an effort to improve upon the current status of medical care,” said Dr. Oliver Sartor, Assistant Dean for Oncology and the C.E. and Bernadine Laborde Professor of Cancer Research, Medicine and Urology Departments at the Tulane School of Medicine.

“He is literally writing the rule book that will, people will be following in years to come,” said Ramirez.

And that’s with the hope of giving each patient, years of quality life.

You can watch the new video about how to find cancer clinical trials in Louisiana beginning October 28. It will be posted at noon and you can watch it at any time after that.

Scientists from LSU Health New Orleans, Tulane University School of Medicine, Ochsner Health and Xavier University will discuss how cancer patients can access available clinical trials as part of a special online program. 

The public is invited to register.

Click here to view the debut of the program.

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